Don't just stalk people, befriend them, too!

  • Kylaila
  • 08/09/2015 07:08 PM
Get Social! #6
Today: How to Make Friends Online

Social interactions are a wonderful little thing,
but something many people struggle with.
The internet is a place seemingly full of socially awkward and shy people trying their best.
And while it is more comfortable online, it is easier to fall into traps.
Conversation still follows the same principles as in real life,
so here is a little help along the way!

With Addit's article in mind, making friends around this site can benefit you in your gam mak, and in getting feedback for your games.
I have also seen plenty of people asking specific advice on how to befriend people online.

A friend is someone closer to us than the usual stranger. When exactly you start calling someone friend is a very personal decision. Some only call the closest of peers their friend they can tell all their fears and secrets to, others use the term for better acquaintances as well as their close ones.

A friend can be your gym companion, someone you talk about anything you could think of, goof around or just a person looking out for you when you are down. No friend should embody all you could ever wish for, that is unreasonable.
You have some sort of shared interest, and you support each other when possible.

So how do you do it?

In real life, most people end up just kind of "stuck" with people and eventually grow to be friends. This is a very easy way of getting them, unconsciously even. In school we just stick to a group of people and usually keep it that way, we have work companions or the occasional stranger we got along with, when you rode the train together every day. They may or may not grow apart later.
Actively pursuing and searching for a friendship later in life seems odd and uncomfortable because we never actively did it.

So online, too, we find ourselves kind of stuck in the routine.
You have a great pool of people who you could contact at any time if you so desired, but you still face the same insecurities.
It is okay to feel a little bit weird or reluctant, but that will not stop you. There are hundreds of people out there, and the greater the anonymity, the smaller the impact of rejection.
Back in the day of caves and hunts, being rejected by your peers was a bad thing. Being rejected by one of thousand is really just a little setback.

So how do you do it?

1. Create Presence

On the internet you can easily observe communities and follow users without them noticing your existance. While you may have gathered their interests, good points and found they sound fun to be around, they do not even know you are there.
Writing someone up with one-sided knowledge is unbalanced, unfair and may at worst seem creepy.
You may skip this entirely, but creating a presence in the internet space of your choosing will enhance your chance to be taken seriously and to be seen in a good light.

On our lovely site we have many ways to make people recognize or remember you.
Do stuff. Just do it, really anything so your name pops up.

You do not have to do anything special, you just want people to recognize you. So you are identified as part of the "community" and not just a spam bot, someone who just signed up and is unknown, or a random lurker.
It also goes to show part of where your interest lies, you can be helpful trying to give feedback or write tutorials, you can show off your artsy stuff (good or bad does not matter at all!), work on that game of yours for all to see, or just be someone enjoying the games of this site.

Seeking help, asking questions, posting your thoughts on the various topics, it will all help to have people recognize you.
There is even an irc where you can just casually chat with people.

Gamepages are, as far as the community aspect goes, strangely personal. Recent or very popular games may get a lot of traffic, but older games are only rarely visited by the regular folks. While it is still a good idea to post there (especially if it is a cool game by a cool person), it is unlikely to make you known to the vast community.
It is, however, a great way to communicate with the creator and the followers of the game.

2. PM Power and Community

Now that you have had a chance to get to know people, and they know you, you are ready to go!

Forums are a weird place. You will over time create bonds with people even without ever writing a pm to them - as well as you may come to dislike people.
There was a board I frequented before it went down. There were a few who went on to create their own gated forum, inviting a few members - many of which they never had spoken to privately, but whom they shared interest and sympathy with.
There are also others who had an underlying respect for what they did and knew, but simply approached issues from two very different directions to like each other.
Once you have reached that point, they basically already are your friends and you could just write them up to talk (if you can then realize they are there). Yet you stayed as platonic as you possibly could - not putting in the least of effort.

A pm is easy, really.
A pm is a small thing. But it can easily lead to long conversations.
Use it to test the waters - there is a really cool person, and you think they would be fun to talk to, or just be someone you seem to get along with. Just drop a short pm, casually speaking, joking or asking a few things. You may even just do silly one-liner to get the attention. (ARE YOU A CHEERLEADER?)

Have fun with it! They may or may not reply, and they may or may not be interested, and that is perfectly okay. Drop it and see what happens.
There are a couple of ways you can start it off.

A: Take up recent posts/discussion

You can take up a discussion that is happening right now.
For example someone saying they absolutely loved a game most people never heard, which you also love. So you write them as a fellow fan, for say Mushroom Men - and just start off with them having great taste and a little bit about how you gotta love Never-Ready Batteries.

Or someone needing help for a project, or being in progress - send a pm asking if they need help and how well they are progressing.

Or someone getting shit in a discussion about social issues or politics, you can side with them in a safe space instead of getting shit on yourself! You can cheer them up personally or give your thumbs up especially then. It can help them keep up their chin when things are going heated and downhill, and it will make you seem like a really cool person as you are reaching out.

Anything goes! Bonding is about rapport, about mutual interests and hobbies, so taking about any of that is going to be a great way to get conversation starting.

B: Talk about the Person

You can be absolutely honest - if someone seems fun to talk with, just say so.
They may also have similar interests and hobbies (please be more specific than gam mak and play random gam on this site) you are curious about - and curiosity is a very healthy place to ask and make contact from.
You are curious how they think about certain topics or what they do with their free time when they are not gam mak.

You can also mention how you cross each other in the boards all the time, yet you never actually just talked to each other.

C: Joke Around

"Talk is welcome. No touching, though!"

This is a bold one, but it is a great one to get attention, a similarily funny response, and shows you are comfortable with yourself. And you have fun. If you have fun just writing the pm, you have already won.

And of course, you may mix these approaches up as you like!
Just do not spam pms to a plethora of people. Reach out to the ones you find most interesting, not to each and everyone. You will ruin your reputation across the boards at worst, because people talk amongst each other.

3. Deepen The Friendship

If you get along well, you can show more of yourself, open yourself up, and eventually deepen the friendship. This is usually a natural process if you keep investing in staying in contact.
If the other does not reply even after multiple attempts and is simply not interested - stop investing. Simple as that.

If you do valued in return, share more of yourself, ask away and do whatever you would like to do. Share your problems, and also accept their's.

To get a good friend - be a good friend.

Now then!

You put yourself out there, and you got to talk to people. Here is where the good and the bad side of the convenience of our internet culture comes into play.

It is relatively easy to engage in conversation and just talk away until you have little left to say. You can just initiate another longer conversation if you so desire later - or drop contacts and chat every now and then via skype or similar.

What is important is that it is okay for conversation to die down - if you already made contact and kept responses, you can just drop another pm if you feel like it.

You can stay in contact easily, you already are "closer" to someone you had private chats with than the ones who are just encountered "publicly" and you may have had a great time.
A problem is, of course, that you may just be a random guy to talk with rather than a friend, as the internet is so convenient you can spare some time even for not-so-close people.

It is also this convenience that makes it easier to be picky and choosing - there are many busy creatures out there who simply will not bother to deepen a friendship that is just one among many other online-friendships.
Busy people are less likely to respond.
You can choose people, but they need to choose you back - if they do not, walk away.


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"nothing can beat the power of gay"?
I have lots of friends! They go with the name ''action figures''
It must have been incredibly hard to get as close to them as you did!
They never replied to me no matter what I tried.
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